If your air conditioner trips your breaker this summer, do this: reset it once. If it doesn’t trip again, you’re probably fine.
But if your AC keeps tripping your breaker, do NOT:
- Continue to reset the breaker without fixing the problem
- Change out the breaker for a larger size
Instead, you should call an air conditioning professional because there’s an underlying electrical problem.
In fact, by committing either of the 2 mistakes above, you’re ignoring the electrical issue and likely setting up your home for some dangerous and expensive problems…
Why you shouldn’t keep resetting your AC breaker
The biggest problem with continually resetting the circuit breaker is that it can lead to an electrical fire.
You see, every component in a circuit—the wiring, outlets, appliances, etc.—is rated to handle a certain amount of electricity (measured in amps). If more electricity passes through the circuit than those components are rated for, the wires can overheat and start a fire.
A circuit breaker prevents this by “tripping” and shutting off the electricity when too much electricity passes through it.
So let’s say your air conditioner’s circuit breaker is 50 amps (that’s what most are). If it’s tripping, that means more than 50 amps of electricity is flowing through the breaker, through the wires and to your AC.
Continually resetting the breaker without fixing the problem lets that additional electricity into the circuit, even if for only a short time. And that can overheat the wires in the circuit and lead to a fire.
But that’s not the only problem. Continually resetting the breaker can also lead to:
- Bigger AC repair bills—Too much electricity flowing to your air conditioner can fry some of its internal electrical parts.
- A worn out breaker—If the breaker trips too many times, it can wear out. And then it won’t work in the future when you need it to, leaving your home vulnerable to an electrical fire.
Why you shouldn’t replace your breaker with a larger one
A constantly tripping breaker could lead a logical person to conclude that “too much electricity is flowing through the breaker, so the breaker obviously needs to be bigger.”
And replacing the breaker with a larger one may stop the breaker from tripping, but it hasn’t solved the problem. It actually made it worse!
A larger breaker means more electricity—more than the wires and air conditioner are rated for—can flow through the circuit. And, as we discussed above, increased electrical load can lead to:
- An electrical fire from overheating wires
- Bigger AC bills since the increased electricity can fry internal parts
What you should do instead
When your air conditioner’s circuit breaker keeps tripping, the cause is usually an AC that’s working too hard, which can be a result of:
- A dirty filter
- A dirty outside unit
- Too many closed vents
But other times you’ll need to hire an AC repair professional to find and fix an electrical issue inside your air conditioner. Santa Fe Air Conditioning and Heating serves the Kansas City area including Olathe, Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee and more. Contact us to schedule service.